Converting Electra Townie 3 Speed to Electric?

Ralph

Active Member
I now have 50 miles on my Dash. Good fun and great bike.

I have a really nice tricked out Electra Townie bike that I would like to make electric. The new Townie Go is too noisy, too slow, and I already have one without the motor. A LBS has agreed to do the work for me, but I have to figure out what is the best option and prefer the battery not be located over the rear wheel.

I would appreciate recommendations and relative cost. Is it a good idea or a waste of money?
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Great question Ralph... Reading your title, the first thing that crossed my mind was the Electra Townie Go! but you're correct about the loud noise of the SRAM drive system there.

It's nice to leverage an existing bike, especially if it's tricked out, so I feel you with wanting to do your own thing. I really don't have a lot of experience with kits but have used the Hill Topper and will be testing a couple more like this in the coming months. Most are front wheel drive but if you're willing to spend more the Falco system or any of the BionX systems are good (both offer regenerative braking, smooth direct drive motors, easy to use control panels and offer mid-mount).

I'm sure you're already aware of those and really just looking for specific advice, wish I could be of more help but have not owned a Townie. I bet there's some good stuff on Endless Sphere. I actually found a couple of threads:
Interesting history here, I believe Don DiCostanzo (Co-founder of Pedego) started out using Electra bikes as the platform for their first electric bike conversions. They were very popular but I think eventually Electra actually asked them to stop using their bikes. Fast forward seven years (I think all of that went down around 2006/2007) and now Pedego is a major ebike brand and Electra has just introduced their own model (the Townie Go! debuted in late 2012 at Interbike). Here's a quick interview I did with their CEO Skip Hess.


Electra has also patented the "Flat Foot" design that moves the bottom bracket more forward for a comfortable, feet forward, seating position. Up until 2013 Pedego was using this design with their Cruiser bikes but ultimately had to change (and did so) in 2014. You can see the frame differences going from 2013 Cruiser to the 2014 Cruiser in the images below ('13 on left and '14 on right with the white tires).

2013-pedego-cruiser.jpg 2014-pedego-cruiser.jpg
 
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Aushiker

Active Member
Going with a kit is one of the options I am tossing around with at the moment as I have a Bacchetta Giro ATT 20 which I could use as a donor bike (if I can set it up to be an enjoyable ride).

In my considerations I have pretty much gone from a Bafang BBS01 kit to a rear drive (discounted due to hassle with dealing with punctures and lower quality bike components) to pretty much settling on a front wheel hub motor. I am now seriously considering a kit from http://bikes.ca, an Outrider kit because of its size, theV3 Cycle Analyst and my main use of the bike. This kit does need a battery added to it but. The other alternative was an eZee kit but that is quite a bit heavier. I discounted the BionX as it is too customised for my liking.

You can follow the discussion leading to where I am at the moment at BentRider.

Regards
Andrew
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Stay away from the Hilltopper, we worked with them early on years ago and the batteries have a lot of issues. The motors are pretty decent as they're Bafang, but I would recommend Bionx or Falco, you'll be much more satisfied. And if you're looking for speed, Falco is the way to go.
 

Brian RM

New Member
I now have 50 miles on my Dash. Good fun and great bike.

I have a really nice tricked out Electra Townie bike that I would like to make electric. The new Townie Go is too noisy, too slow, and I already have one without the motor. A LBS has agreed to do the work for me, but I have to figure out what is the best option and prefer the battery not be located over the rear wheel.

I would appreciate recommendations and relative cost. Is it a good idea or a waste of money?
Hello Ralph,
Have you had any luck finding a conversion kit?
My daughter has an Electra Hawaii and loves it. As a result, we bought mom an Electra Gypsi 3i for Christmas last year. Unfortunately, the great looking cruiser is a bit big and heavy, so my wife doesn't like to ride it at all.
Consequently, I am now researching electric conversion kits to help push the Electra enough for mom to ride with us again.
I imagine we need a front wheel conversion kit so we don't have to mess with the gears and breaks in the 3-speed rear hub. And since the Electra wheels are rather unique and part of the fashion statement with the red spokes, white rim and fat tire - I would like to install the new electric hub into the original wheel.
Any suggestions?
Court have you reviewed any other relevant kits since those originally recommended to Ralph last March?

Thanks!
 

SrBrute

New Member
Just converted a step through 7 speed townie to e-bike using the kit supplied by e-bikerig.com or Leeds bike Co. It is my second conversion using their kit, first was a 20" Citizen Folder bike and now the 26" Electra Townie model. Kit is simple to install takes more like 30 mins to 1 hr to do it correctly but is straight forward front wheel setup. I purchased the dual quick release front wheel as an extra because I have to remove front wheel to load bike into Odyssey Van without removing seats and the quick release levers make this easy task. I have well over a 1000 miles on the Citizen with the e-bike kit without any problems battery and motor still going strong. The wheel that comes with the kit is not the same as original townie as it is stainless steel and not aluminum but you need the extra strength because of torque generated by front wheel electric motor and the Electra Townie also has a steel fork which is recommended for front wheel conversions. This is a very simple setup with 1 button speed control, basically on and off. But, it works great as I only use the power assist when going up hills and to get up to speed on the trails. I think this style of Townie with the upright position and forward pedals, flat foot stops and lightweight frame is the perfect bike for conversions.